Avi Loeb's Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Famed astronomer Avi Loeb returns to The Commonwealth Club to answer some of the biggest questions facing humankind: How do we prepare ourselves for interaction with interstellar extraterrestrial life? And can our species itself become interstellar?

Loeb, the longest-serving chair of Harvard's Astronomy Department, shook the scientific community when he theorized that our solar system had been visited by a piece of advanced alien technology from a distant star. The object, dubbed 'Oumuamua, sparked worldwide discussions and arguments, and Loeb was at the center of it all. 

Now, in his new book Interstellar, Loeb builds on that original idea and asks, What's next? He gives a call to arms that reimagines the idea of contact with extraterrestrial civilizations. Dismantling our science-fiction-fueled visions of a human and alien life encounter, he provides a blueprint for how such an interaction might actually occur, resetting our cultural understanding and expectation of what it means to identify an extraterrestrial object. From awe-inspiring searches for extraterrestrial technology, to the heated debate of the existence of unidentified aerial phenomena, Loeb provides a thrilling, front-row view of the monumental progress in science and technology currently preparing us for contact. He also lays out the profound implications of becoming—or not becoming—interstellar; in an urgent, eloquent appeal for more proactive engagement with the world beyond ours, he contends why we must seek out other life forms, and in the process, choose who and what we are within the universe.

Tens of thousands of people have viewed Dr. Loeb's 2022 Commonwealth Club program. Don't miss his return engagement as he raises some of the most important questions facing us as humans and argues that scientific curiosity is the key to our survival.


In association with the Club's Humanities Forum and Wonderfest.

Image - Avi Loeb

Avi Loeb

Ph.D., Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science and Former Chair of the Department of Astronomy, Harvard University; Author, Interstellar: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Our Future in the Stars

Image - George Hammond

In Conversation with George Hammond

Author, Conversations With Socrates